Dawn Richard

A Profile of Hope: Dawn Richard, Lymphoma Caregiver

"I Did Not Think Anything Could Bring Me Closer to My Father."

My family had already been through so much by the time my father was diagnosed with lymphoma. After becoming homeless as a result of Hurricane Katrina we had to move to Baltimore to stay with my brother and rebuild our lives. Ultimately, I ended up in Los Angeles and therefore was not there when my Dad received his initial diagnosis, which was incredibly hard. I have always been a 'Daddy's girl,' and so when I did get the news, I immediately flew out to be with him and my mother.

I was utterly clueless as to what lymphoma was and after two days of crying I decided I needed to educate myself. Lucky for me I found the Lymphoma Research Foundation web site which really saved me because it gave me all of the knowledge I was lacking. Not only that but reading other peoples Stories of Hope made me realize that we were not alone. That sense of inspiration was vital for me to be able to act as an effective caregiver at the time. These stories, along with my father's diagnosis, really put my life in perspective and made me realize how even the things I loved, like music, is really so small when compared to family. I never would have imagined anything could bring my father and me closer, but his lymphoma journey did just that, by making us cherish each other in a different, even deeper, way.

I also realized that I wanted to do anything I could to help raise awareness so other people will be informed if they are affected by lymphoma. The best way for me to do that is to use whatever platform I have to spread the message of the Lymphoma Research Foundation. September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and I'm proud to collaborate with the Foundation for its fifth annual Light it Red for Lymphoma campaign. Through social media, I will Light it Red by educating my fans and the public about lymphoma and LRF, and encourage them to wear red on World Lymphoma Awareness Day (September 15). With nearly one million Americans living with, or in remission from, lymphoma — my father included, I believe awareness is so important. Joining LRF for Light it Red for Lymphoma will not only raise awareness about this type of blood cancer, but will also give hope to those who have been affected by this disease.